Disclaimer: I don't own TMNT. Lucky for you guys, 'cause I'd hoard them all to myself! Hahahaha

A/N: A few quick points to remember here folks.

1. This is based on the 1987 series, but is actually placed in 1997. So, the guys are like twenty-five.

2. Although it was rare, they did refer to each other in a familial sense from time to time and so I've let that be more of the norm here. Another words they will refer to each other as brother, not friend as was often done in the old series. And to Splinter as father on occation.

3. Samantha is the only OC in this fic, the rest will be from the series.

Chapter 1 – Cruel Fate

They say he's a monster. They say he's bad. They say he's not worth saving. But all I can think about is how he saved me.

Twenty Years Ago...

When she heard the apartment door open, she pulled the covers over her head, fear pulsing through her. The bedroom door creaked open and she rolled into a ball. Was he drunk? What would he do to her? Footsteps moved swiftly across the dingy carpet and she cringed as the covers were pulled back. "Samantha!"

Her eyes popped open as relief washed over her. "Joey!"

The seven-year-old boy glanced towards the door as footsteps started down the hall. "Hurry!" He half pulled her out of the bed to the floor. The two scrambled beneath it. Tears streaked her cheeks as he wrapped his arms protectively around her. "Shh..."

She struggled to quiet her sobs as the door opened and the heavy footsteps entered. The two children held their breath as a male voice cursed. "Where are you! You little brats! Come out or so help me when I find you, I'll break those scrawny necks of yours!" The man ranted for a few more minutes, until the sound of the bedside lamp breaking filled the room followed by a thump.

Joey slowly moved out to make sure their father was properly passed out. He reached under the bed to pull out his five-year-old sister. "Come on." He whispered. She clung to him as they edged across the small room past the broken lamp and drunken body.

Once they were in the hall and Joey had pulled the door closed behind them, Samantha spoke. "But Joey, what if he wakes up?"

He wrapped an arm around her. "He won't tonight. But you can sleep with me, just in case."

She followed him into his room and snuggled down next to him. "I'm scared, Joey."

He pulled her close. "Don't worry. I'll always protect you, Sams. I'm your big brother after all."

The Present…

"You sure you wanna do this?"

Samantha zipped up her bag and smiled at the large red headed woman. "Yes, I'm sure Red. It's time I got out on my own. I've got a decent job and I've saved up enough for my own place."

"If you'd let us help you out, it wouldna took so long." Jersey Red smiled at the young girl.

Samantha chuckled. "I wanted to earn it for myself, not just steal it."

Jersey Red rolled her eyes. "That's our Sams, always got to do things the honest way."

Samantha threw the bag over her shoulder. "Yep, I want Joey to be proud of me when I see him again. I want him to see what he helped me become." She looked at Jersey Red. "You will tell me, if you hear from him?"

Jersey Red frowned. "Cupcake, you know we ain't seen him since he hooked up with that weirdo."

Samantha's shoulders sagged. "I know, but he could still show up."

Jersey Red smiled tolerantly. "Well, if he does, I'll tell 'im where you're at. Okay, Cupcake?"

Samantha smiled and pecked her on the cheek. "Thanks Red. I'll call you when I get settled in."

Jersey Red walked her to the front steps of the old apartment building they'd been crashing in and she waived as she walked away. Pulling the bag up on her shoulder, she strolled down the street with her head up and shoulders squared. She'd learned many things from her surrogate family in the past twelve years, not the least of which was self-defense. But in this neighborhood she had no need of the skill. They all knew who she was and that she was off limits. Although she didn't wear the markings of the gang she'd lived with for so long, she was under their protection. She was their little sister.

The apartment she'd picked was small, but it was close to her job and it was in a pretty safe neighborhood. It had to be or Jersey Red would have never let her leave. She sighed softly as she slipped her key into the door, checking her surroundings out of habit before entering. The small studio apartment wasn't beautiful, but it was functional. And it was a lot better than most of the places she'd lived in throughout her life.

The place came furnished with a daybed, a small table and chairs, and cookware, but she'd have to provide everything else. Dropping her bag on the bare mattress, she pulled out the few outfits she owned. It was a good thing today was her day off. That meant she could get a few essentials before she had to go back to work tomorrow. She sighed softly as she unloaded her few possessions. After the clothes were hung in the tiny closet, she pulled out the small children's book and gazed at the worn cover that had lost its glossiness long ago. Setting it aside, she pulled out the rumpled photo of her family. It had changed over the years from bright colors to muted oranges and reds, but the faces could still be seen and that was what was important. The family of four smiled back at her from their frozen prison. There was her mom, dressed in a sun dress with curly blonde hair framing her lovely face. Beside her stood their father, wearing an expression that she never remembered seeing in real life. His happiness seemed to glow off the paper. In front of them were two small children. Samantha smiled at the five-year-old Joey with his arm wrapped around her three-year-old self. He looked happy too.

She couldn't help but let out another forlorn sigh as she set the photo aside. That family was a fairytale, one long gone. In fact, she didn't really remember the woman in the photo, though she'd been told often enough that she looked just like her. All she could remember was the man, and he was not that man with the smile and sparkle in his eye. She shuddered remembering the night Joey had come to her room and demanded she pack her clothes.


"Joey, where are we going?"

He pulled her along, glancing back over his shoulder. "Hush, Sams!"

"But Joey!" They were now several blocks from home and he pulled her into an empty alley. His arms wrapped around her tightly. His heart was pounding loudly in her ears and he was shaking all over. "Joey, you're scaring me!"

He took a few deep breaths and leaned back to look down at his twelve-year-old sister. "He was gonna hurt you, Sams! I couldn't let him do that!"

She blinked at him unsure what he meant. "Hurt me? But he hits us all the time….I don't understand."

Joey's black eye was current proof of their father's drunken rages. Her own body held marks, where he grabbed her too hard or shoved her too hard. But Joey never let him hit her, he always intervened. That's why he wore the worst of what their father doled out.

Joey pulled his backpack off and pulled out a blanket. He sat down against the alley wall and tugged her down next to him. "It don't matter." He mumbled.

Samantha snuggled against his side. "It's cold out here. When are we going to go home?"

His arm tightened around her. "We're not going home. Never ever again."

She lifted her head from his shoulder. "But what about all my stuff? Why can't we go home?"

Joey's jaw clenched. "He was gonna hurt you, Sams." He racked his fourteen-year-old mind, trying to find a way to explain it to her. "He was gonna hurt you like only a guy can hurt a girl."

Her blue eyes grew wide in shock and fear, finally understanding what he was trying to say. Tears spilled from her eyes. "Daddy….was going to do that to me?" She wasn't stupid, they'd grown up in a rough part of town. By now she knew what happened if you hung out in the wrong places with the wrong people.

Joey pulled her closer still. "Yeah, but don't you worry. I'm not gonna let him touch you." He hugged her as she sobbed. "I'm gonna take care of you from now on, Sams. You just wait and see."

-End of Flashback-

Samantha swiped at her face. "Stupid! That was a long time ago! Get it together!" She took a deep breath and rummaged in her pockets for the wad of bills. She laid them on the mattress in front of her. One, two, three - twenties and a five. Well, it wasn't much but she could get some sheets and a few groceries anyways. She could make them stretch for another week or so, until she was paid again. She wasn't used to eating on a regular basis anyways.

Picking up the bills, she rolled them tight and stuck them down inside her bra. There wasn't a pick pocket in the world that could get them there without her noticing. Then she tucked her keys in her pocket. She'd learned long ago that purses made you a target. If you looked like you didn't have anything, most people would ignore you. She smirked to herself. I pity the poor fool that tries anything on me.

Stepping outside, she gave another quick glance around. Her apartment was on the basement level of an old brownstone that had been converted into apartments. The area just outside her door was dark with a small set of steps that led up to street level. Some might call her behavior paranoid, but growing up on the streets she'd learned to be alert. If you weren't, you were dead. She quickly locked up and headed up the stairs to the sidewalk.

Okay, first priority are some sheets. Surveying the street, she began to stroll towards the shop she knew would be open right now. It was late even by New Yorker standards. But she liked this time of night the best, when most people slept and the stars were still visible. Every once in a while, a car would pass, illuminating the darker alleyways across the street. That's when she spotted them. There were six in all, loitering around the end of an alley. She turned her eyes forward, keeping them in her peripheral and stuffing her hands in her pockets. She kept her pace steady, head up, shoulders back. But it was too late they'd spotted her. Groaning inwardly, she tried to ignore them. She didn't recognize their gang markings, but she knew that they weren't armatures by the way they approached her.

"Hey, sweetheart, what you doin' out so late?"

She rolled her eyes, still trying to ignore them. But one hurried to block her path. She groaned loudly. "Don't you boys have some candy to take from babies or something?"

The one that was apparently their leader moved to face her. "You're pretty mouthy for a little girl out on the streets by herself."

She folded her arms, glaring and tapping her foot. "I have things to do, so why don't you get out of my way."

"Ooh, she's spunky! I like it! Could I have her boss?" One guy got a little too close for comfort.

She swatted away his hand as he reached for her. "Believe me when I tell you, you won't like what you get."

"Girl, you are way out numbered." The leader made a motion with his hand and two of the men grabbed her from behind, locking her arms behind her back. She struggled for a moment, but they were much bigger than her. The leader took hold of her chin with an evil sneer. "Keep that spirit. We like it when they fight." He rubbed a dirty thumb across her lips and she snapped her teeth at it with every intention of taking the digit off. He snarled and backhanded her. "Take her into the alley."

Leonardo pulled his trench-coat closer with one hand as he strolled down the empty city street. His other hand was occupied with balancing a large stack of pizzas. "Gosh, I'm running kind of late. I hope the guys don't mind."

The wind whipped around him as he strolled down the street in the direction of home. There was no point in going underground when there were few people out this late. He'd only made it three blocks, when he heard the voices coming from the alley.

"Hold her still, you idiots!"

"But boss, she's stronger than she looks!"

"You're twice her size, dimwit! Hold her down!"

"Ow! She bit me!"

"Get off me!" The last voice was female and angry by the sound of it.

Leonardo didn't have to think as he darted into the alley to find six guys trying to pin down a small blonde woman. He tossed the pizzas aside in a neat pile and threw off his trench-coat. "Didn't you boys hear the lady? She said get off her."

"Beat it freak! This one is ours! She was askin' for it!" The leader struck Samantha again.

"Stop that!" Leonardo took a step forward. "I said let her go."

The leader angled his head at the turtle. "You boys take care of him, while I take care of her."

Three men moved towards Leo. With a flip, a kick, and a punch, he took out all three. He turned back to the three men holding the young woman in time to see the girl kick the leader in a very sensitive area. The leader yelped and staggered away from her. Leo watched in astonishment as she swung her knees up to nail the two thugs that were still trying to hold her down. One thug hit the wall behind him and blacked out. The other released her and she jumped to her feet, only to turn and kick the guy in the head.

"Don't you think that was a bit much? He was already down." Leonardo pointed out.

She whipped her head around to glare at him with bright blue eyes. "They were trying to rape me. So, no, I don't."

"Why, you little-!" The leader was on his feet again, charging her. She side stepped just in time for him to run headlong into the wall.

Leo had to admit the girl was good. He smiled a little at her. She started to return it, but then her eyes grew large just as he felt something pierce his leg. He growled, turning and kicking the man that had just stabbed him with an old rebar rod right through his calf. The man rolled away and Leo clutched his injured leg.

Suddenly the woman was beside him, taking his arm. He looked down into her intense blue gaze, her curly blonde hair framing her round face. "Come on." She pulled his arm over her shoulder and started to move them out of the alley.

Leonardo wasn't sure what to do. He couldn't walk without her aid, but he had no idea where she was going either. "Wait? Where are you taking me?"

"My apartment's just up the street." She glanced back at the alley full of unconscious bodies. "Do you want to stay here?"

He didn't have to glance back. "No."

"Then come on." She helped him down the sidewalk, which was still empty, and down the steps to her door. She struggled to pull out her keys while keeping the increasingly heavy turtle from falling on his face. Finally, she managed to get the door open and they both stumbled in a few paces before she hit the lights.

Leo was disoriented. His vision was blurry and he felt incredibly weak all of sudden. This was why the sparse apartment was somehow amusing. "Nice place."

Samantha gave a bitter chuckle. "Sorry, I just moved in today. I didn't realize I was going to be having a guest." She lowered Leo onto the bed. "Lay here for a minute." She hurried back to the door, locking it, and then pulled out her duffle. She hadn't planned on patching anyone up this fast either. Her first aid kit was rather low on supplies. Grabbing a shirt off one of the hangers, she took the few steps back to his side. Leo was staring blankly at the ceiling, his eyes at half-mast. She frowned at him. "You still with me?"

He groaned. "Yeah."

"I've got take this rod out. It's going to hurt – like really hurt."

Leo took a deep breath. "Go ahead."

She didn't wait for anything further. Taking hold of the rod in one hand and pressing on his leg with the other, she yanked it out in one move. Leo came off the bed with a cry. She rushed to hush him. He hunched over his leg which was bleeding worse now and she gripped his shoulders. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. But you have to be quiet. Please!"

He sucked in a harsh breath and nodded, biting his tongue. "I need to call…." He swayed and she pressed him back onto the bed.

"Whoever it is, we can call them later. Right now you need to rest." She hadn't finished her sentence before he was out. She sighed. "Don't worry. You're safe."

A/N: Yes, I know I'm not through with A Never Ending Bond yet. But I just couldn't hold onto this one. It has been pressing on me and so I thought I'd at least get it started. I'm having a bit of writers block on ANEB anyways. Plus I know this was not in my poll, but don't worry those are in the works as well. I really hope you enjoy this one. Please review!